CAMP LEJEUNE,N.C. -- Corporal's Course personnel packed up their swords and moved from Building 138 here to a new residence at Camp Geiger recently.
Camp Lejeune was home to the facility nearly five years, according to Gunnery Sgt. Herbert P. Hilt, the course's assistant director.
Now, the cadence calls of young leaders blend with those of Marines training at the Staff Noncommissioned Officer's Academy adjacent to the new school.
"The course is a stepping stone to becoming a better leader. It teaches young NCOs the fundamentals of leadership," Hilt said.
Because the school is located next to SNCOA, the students feel they are in a more professional atmosphere, according to Hilt from New Albany, Ind.
"These students see the sergeants and staff sergeants drilling, and that has a positive impact on them. They see and hear and feel the professionalism that surrounds them in this environment," he said.
Moving wasn't the only improvement made. The school also spent $20,000 on new visual equipment for classroom training. New beds and wall lockers were placed in the barracks.
Students' safety has also benefitted.
"Running is safer now, because we have less traffic on the roads, and the Marines drill on concrete pads vice the grass we used to drill on," Hilt said.
An unexpected benefit is due to reduced billeting. Because the school's quota dropped about 50 students, more attention is focused on the smaller numbers of students.
"With less students, my instructors are able to give more one-on-one assistance to those who need it," Hilt said. "Instructors also come in on Saturdays to give extra instruction to whoever wants it. About 75 percent of the students show up."
"The instructors give extra time because we take pride in seeing a better quality-trained corporal walk across the stage on graduation day. One who knows how to use the sword, knows how to drill and knows how to be a better leader," he said.
"As an instructor you get to make an impact on Marines who might not like the unit they are with. Here, they see a different side of the Corps," said Sgt Kenneth J. Kondash, an instructor at the course from Nazareth, Pa. "Some of the Marines had every intention of getting out of the Corps after their four years were up, and after graduating they reenlisted."
The staff at Corporal's Course choose their instructors very carefully. They want sergeants of the highest caliber to train the Corps' future leaders and are looking for qualified, squared-away sergeants to become instructors. Right now, they don't have any female instructors and would like to have at least one join the team, according to Hilt.
Marines who are interested in becoming an instructor must request it through their command and will then be screened by Corporal's Course staff.
For more information about the course , contact Sergeant Kenneth Kondash at 450-0549.